As a pregnant woman you can expect your body to undergo numerous changes over the course of pregnancy. The size of your body will change, you will undergo mood swings, there will be a change in your attitude and even your shoe size might change. Pregnancy is a big life-changing event, both physically and emotionally for any woman. From the time you conceive, until the time of delivery, different physiological, metabolic and anatomical changes occur inside your body. There are some changes that you are aware of and are expecting and then there are some that take you by surprise. Voice change during pregnancy could be one such thing that you would be totally unaware of. But it is normal, there is nothing to be alarmed about. There are chances that you are pregnant and noticed that your voice is sounding a little different and if you are a singer, you are not able to cling to the pitch or even your normal voice has turned hoarse. There is no need to be anxious, it is just another pregnancy side effect. Continue reading to know more about voice change during pregnancy.
What Causes Voice Change During Pregnancy?
There are several reasons behind the voice change during pregnancy.8 astonisihng casues of voice change during pregnancy are:
- Hormones: Most of the changes during pregnancy, both physical and emotional, happen due to the hormonal imbalance. During pregnancy, elevation in progesterone and estrogen levels affects a pregnant woman’s body which includes even the vocal cords thus resulting in voice change during pregnancy
- Edema or swelling of vocal chords: Similar to other parts of the body like face, hands, and legs, the vocal fold tissue also tends to swell during pregnancy. This swelling can pressurize the vocal folds, making them heavier and alter the singing range. Due to swollen vocal chords a pregnant woman may have difficulty in reaching the higher notes, but she may be able to comfortably reach the lower ones. Swelling makes the voice quality somewhat raspy
- Dilated blood vessels in the vocal cord: During pregnancy, the blood vessels dilate to carry more blood as the blood volume increases incredibly during pregnancy. Likewise, the blood vessels in the vocal cord also dilate, making it fragile and easy to tear and rupture. This can result in voice change during pregnancy
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR): Laryngopharyngeal reflux is quite common during pregnancy. Acid made in the stomach will travel up the esophagus as the lower esophageal sphincter, which keeps the food in the stomach and prevents it from coming to the larynx, relaxes due to the influence of the pregnancy hormone – progesterone. When that stomach acid gets into the throat, and larynx (voice box) it is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). This can cause irritation in the voice box, resulting in voice change
- Decreased nasal resonance: Just like other parts of the body, the nose also swells during pregnancy decreasing the nasal resonance thereby affecting the quality of voice and making it husky
- Increased body fluids: As the blood volume increases by 50% during pregnancy, the body fluid also increases. This increases the chances of the mucus or body fluid to get accumulated near the vocal cord. This results in slowing down the vibration of the vocal cord, which in turn result in deepening of the voice
- Change in posture: During pregnancy, especially when you enter the last trimester of pregnancy, there will be a change in the pelvis, chest, and the back of the expecting mother. This can change the entire support mechanism, including the voice generating mechanism of the mother’s body
- Decreased lung capacity: It is difficult to breathe during pregnancy as the growing baby pushes your stomach and other organs near the womb up to the diaphragm. You might notice that as you get into the later stages of pregnancy, even talking becomes a task. Likewise, the voice will also be influenced due to decreased capacity of the lungs and vocal fatigue
When To Seek Medical Attention For Voice Change During Pregnancy?
Most of the time, the voice change during pregnancy is temporary and will resolve by itself shortly after delivery when the hormone levels fall back to normal. However, you should consult a laryngologist if you experience the following symptoms, as, sometimes voice change can be a sign of some underlying issues.
- Feeling pain while talking or singing
- If you lose your voice significantly
- Change in voice appears suddenly after coughing and sneezing or while you sing or talk
There is no need to push or strain your voice to make it better. Leave it. Straining your larynx during pregnancy could damage your vocal cord as they are fragile due to increased level of pregnancy hormones. Breathing exercises and drinking water are the most effective remedies for voice change during pregnancy as they help to bring down the swelling. You should also avoid caffeine while you are pregnant as it is not good for your baby as well as your voice. Relax, sit back and remember you will definitely get your normal, sweet voice back and will be able to sing a lullaby to your baby shortly after delivery.